Like all Americans, I enjoy exercising my God-given right to complain about all manner of inconveniences, large or small. I do so with relish and, if I may toot my own horn, relative verve and poise. It’s something of a calling card.
But anyone can complain. And everyone does. So I’m not going to complain about Blockbuster. I’m not going to complain about the fact that they don’t care about me as a customer. Instead I’m going to use this opportunity to look at some companies who do care about their customers. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me first explain why I loathe Blockbuster and provide some context to my forthcoming gushing about common-courtesy customer service.
Last year I unsubscribed from the Blockbuster email list. Then they sent me emails after I unsubscribed so I did it again. And again. “This is strange,” I thought, in my naïveté, “I’ll just add them to my spam filter and let Google take care of the rest.” But they didn’t stop. They just kept coming.
In November I received another unwanted email from Blockbuster. “This time,” my more-jaded self said, “I’m going to document my displeasure! That will certainly show these corporate fat cats!” I unsubscribed from the email list, sent a formal complaint through the proper channels of communication at Blockbuster web HQ and waited. For two whole months, no heralds issued forth from the foul blue and yellow gates of Blockbuster. All was quiet.
Until this week, when I got another email from Blockbuster.
I haven’t responded to Blockbuster yet. At this point it’s comical. I have followed a path laid forth by Blockbuster that will supposedly keep their messages at bay, but that hasn’t worked. So what’s a guy to do? As I understand it, Blockbuster has told me how to get their attention. They have told me explicitly what I needed to do to get them to listen to me but they haven’t. I don’t feel as if there’s anything at this point that I can do to keep from getting spammed about crummy ‘deals’ on their movies and services.
Blockbuster doesn’t care.
This stands in stark on contrast to the excellent service I received from Steam, Valve Software’s downloading service. In the last year I have contacted Steam about a variety of issues, both big and small. In one instance I was asking about a very simple issue on my account. Essentially, I was complaining (politely, of course) to them about something that I should have noticed. But they got back to me. So far as I can tell, a human even typed out the message. They replied to me in less than 48 hours with a courteous reply that let me know it would be OK for me to keep talking to them if I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Thankfully, I’m not an idiot so their services were no longer required.
My interaction with Valve, to be fair to Blockbuster, is different than my request to be left alone. With Valve, I’m a buying customer asking them how I can continue to be a buying customer. Thankfully, I have another example! Here’s a great story about customer satisfaction. This summer I realized that I was not using Groupon and requested to unsubscribe. And they complied! No more emails from Groupon!
Isn’t that a great story?
While I don’t plan on using them any time soon, I will not openly discourage my friends, family, co-workers, and curious bystanders from patronizing their business. But I will certainly tell everyone who asks (and evidently those who don’t) that Blockbuster doesn’t care and they should be avoided at all cost.
The amazing thing about technology is that it makes relatively simple requests like unsubscribing from an email newsletter a simple chore to be executed by a machine that has nothing better to do. When such a simple function isn’t executed, the problem is magnified to such a degree that the company that does not care does not merely lose a customer but gains an enemy.
I know I’m being a little bit dramatic. But watch your back Blockbuster. I have a friend who’s got your number.